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Annual DRI Convocation celebrates scientific achievement and honors graduate student research accomplishments

DRI President’s Medal awarded to Switch Supernap

RENO – On Thursday, June 2 more than 200 people gathered at the Reno and Las Vegas campuses of Nevada’s Desert Research Institute to celebrate the scientific and academic achievement of the Institute’s faculty and students.

DRI's Annual Convocation Ceremony presented accolades to nine scientific researchers and graduate students on behalf of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, DRI donors and individual scientific research divisions. Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents' members Regent Jason Geddes and Regent Kevin Melcher were on hand to present several awards.

DRI honored 18 graduate students from UNR and UNLV who have completed research for their Masters or Doctoral degrees while working with DRI research faculty.

Dr. Stephen G. Wells, DRI President, also presented his 31st President’s Medal to Switch SUPERNAP for the company’s outstanding commitment to STEM education, clean and renewable energy, and “paying forward” thier success to help build Nevada’s new economy.

Missy Young, Executive Vice President of Sales at Switch SUPERNAP accepted the award on the company's behalf. 

The DRI President’s Medal recognizes those who have exhibitied significant dedication to furthering the Institute’s mission and goals through their time, support, and expertise.

“Switch SUPERNAP CEO Rob Roy and his team epitomize what the new Nevada is and what it can be,” said Dr. Wells. “We greatly appreciate their generous support of our DRI Nevada Medal events and their continued dedication to furthering DRI’s mission.”


The DRI President’s Medal is selected and awarded annually. Previous recipients have included the Honorable Senator Harry Reid, Former Lieutenant Governor Sue Wagner, former IBM Research Vice President and DRI Trustee Emeritus Arther Anderson, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Doug Allen and the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation, Tom & Mary Kay Gallagher, and many more since the first award in 1998.

DRI.Convocation2Scholarship and Fellowship Awards:

  • Adam Watts, Ph.D. – NSHE Rising Researcher Award
  • Rosemary Carroll, Ph.D. – Peter B. Wagner Medal of Excellence for DRI Scholars in the Early Stages of Career Development Award
  • Natalie Freeman – Peter B. Wagner Memorial Award for Women in Atmospheric Sciences • Zachary Arno – Colin Warden Memorial Endowment Award
  • JD Lancaster and Derek Reaux – Jonathan O. Davis Scholarships in Quaternary Sciences
  • Xueke Yang – George Burke Maxey Fellowship
  • Daniel Saftner – George Burke Maxey Award in Water Resources
  • Eric Wilcox - Graduate Advisor of the Year Award

DRI Faculty Retirement Awards:

  • William Coulumbe
  • Brenda Cristani
  • Johann Engelbrecht
  • Cindy O’Kelly
  • Hampden Kuhns
  • Martha McRae

DRI Faculty promoted to Emeritus Status:

  • Johann Engelbrecht
  • Alan McKay
  • Martha McRae

DRI.Convocation1Graduates in Academics:

  • Yazeed Alsubhi, Masters of Science in Atmospheric Sciences, UNR
  • Megan Johnson, Masters of Science in Atmospheric Sciences, UNR
  • Gustavo Riggio, Masters of Science in Atmospheric Sciences, UNR
  • Samantha Tabor, Masters of Science in Atmospheric Sciences, UNR
  • Anna Tai, Masters of Science in Atmospheric Sciences, UNR
  • Matt Fearon, Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences, UNR
  • Daniel McEvoy, Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences, UNR
  • Nick Nauslar,  Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences, UNR
  • Sandra Rayne, Ph.D. Atmospheric Sciences, UNR
  • Matt Bromley, Masters of Science in Geography, UNR
  • Laura Craig, Ph.D. in Hydrogeology, UNR
  • Nathan Chellman, Masters of Science in Hydrology, UNR
  • Ben Trustman, Masters of Science in Hydrology, UNR
  • Erik Cadart, Masters of Science in Hydrogeology, UNR
  • Harrison Forrester, Masters of Science in Natural Resources & Environment, UNR
  • Chase Carthen, Masters of Science in Computer Science & Engineering, UNLV
  • Taylor Ball, Masters of Science in Geosciences, UNLV
  • Jeremy Koonce, Ph.D. in Geosciences, UNLV